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Human Transcription Services vs Voice Recognition Transcription

By 22nd December 2020No Comments
Transcription services


Should I choose human transcriptions or automatic transcription?

Transcription services can be very valuable for aiding researchers, students and professionals alike. Unlike copy typing, transcriptions are not a matter of simply listening and regurgitating the audio, professional transcribers actually listen to the conversation and understand the needs of the client, which are varied. However, some companies choose automated software to cut time and costs – but which is the best option to go for?


How does human transcription work?

Human transcription is carried out by real people, experts in their field who listen to an audio file and convert it to text.  A transcript produced by a human gleans more than the spoken word, utilising intelligence, understanding and the human ear in order to aid analysis of the data that’s been collected.  Human transcription considers many factors including readability, the nature of the content and the specific requirements of the reader.


What are the benefits of human transcription?

In qualitative studies, researchers, especially in the social sciences, use interviews as a way to discover or interpret the meaning of certain events or facts reported by respondents.  An integral ingredient of qualitative research is reviewing the work and analysing that data.  How can human transcription services help?

Presentation:  At its most basic, a human transcriptionist can break up the different sections of discussion into easy-to-manage paragraphs, and format conclusions to make the data clear and searchable.   A human transcriber can type the audio into a Word document or Excel, as well as in pre-formatted templates provided by the client.  

Detail:  In strict verbatim transcription, a human transcriber can note non-verbal communication such as pauses, sighs and even emotion, to present an in-depth reflection of what was said and how – to help with analysis. Video transcription can include visual body information such as nods and shrugs, invaluable to those researchers requiring an extremely detailed record of a discussion.

A human transcriber understands when a researcher does not need the non-verbal interpretation and produces an intelligent verbatim transcript which flows more naturally, still capturing the whole discussion but filtering out that the fillers, resulting in data that is easier to process.  

Strong and regional accents:  A human transcriptionist can decipher and understand the complexity of speech, and is far superior at creating a transcript than a computer. 


How does automated transcription work?

Automated/voice recognition transcription works by uploading a recording to a computer program, which then generates a typed transcript. There is no doubt that speech recognition has come a long way over the years, but the accuracy is far less than having a human input. 


What is the real difference between human transcription and automatic speech recognition?

To highlight the difference between human and automated transcription, we have an example excerpt from the same recording.  Our expert transcriber produced the following:

  • Q:    What decision-making process do you go through in order to determine which treatment strategy would be most effective for a woman presenting with a menopausal related affective disorder?

    A:     I guess first of all her thoughts and preferences, whether there are any contraindications to one of the options, so breast cancer and HRT, or some of the breast cancers and HRT anyway in active treatment.

And the text from an automated software was:

  • what scope decision-making process do you go through in order to determine which treatment strategy would be raised effective for a while presenting the menopause one is the fact that all done an gautami not been snatch it is testable no thoughts and get blisters to pound the the there any confrontations to want a the options that reckons that which it in an unorthodox considering charging me that.

Whilst Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) undoubtedly offers a much cheaper transcription cost, the example above clearly demonstrates the gamble one takes in choosing this option, rather than using human transcription services.  


Transcribe It is the UK’s longest established transcription services provider, and for the past 28 years, we have continuously adapted and flexed what we offer to meet the needs of our clients, and we will continue to do so.  Please contact us for any transcription queries, we are always happy to help!

You can give us a call on 01992 445411 if you would like to discuss how we can help you with your UK transcription needs.

Alternatively, you can choose to email us your transcription enquiry at and we’ll be in touch with a quote as soon as possible.


Human Transcription Services vs Voice Recognition Transcription
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Human Transcription Services vs Voice Recognition Transcription
Human transcription is carried out by real people, experts in their field who listen to an audio file and convert it to text.
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